What’s in store for the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) 2022, the global grain-based food industry’s largest trade event in the Western Hemisphere, when it returns in-person Sept. 18-21 in Las Vegas? To find out, Commercial Baking collaborated with tradeshow industry journalist Danica Tormohlen to host an exclusive conversation with the IBIE planning committee.

IBIE, which takes place every three years, is owned by the American Bakers Association (ABA) and BEMA and is supported by the Retail Bakers of America (RBA). It drew nearly 22,000 baking professionals at the previous Expo in 2019, and Tormohlen got the inside scoop on how the event is being planned and what is in consideration.

The IBIE Planning Committee is made up of five ABA members and five BEMA members. Eight committee members sat down to share their insights on what exhibitors and attendees can expect at IBIE 2022. Those members and their companies include: Dennis Gunnell, IBIE 2022 chair and president, Formost Fuji; Jorge Zárate, IBIE 2022 vice chair and global senior VP, operations and engineering, at Grupo Bimbo; Allen Wright, IBIE secretary and treasurer and VP of sales and marketing, Hansaloy; Michael Cornelis, IBIE past chair and VP, American Pan; Joseph Turano, IBIE past chair and president, Turano Baking Co.; David Watson, consultant at The Austin Co.; DJ Lecrone, CEO, LeMatic; and Ken Newsome, CEO, Markel Food Group. Committee members not on the call include Jason Frye, senior VP, supply chain planning and performance, Flowers Foods; and Kim Albers-Nisbet, president of sales, United States Bakery.


Danica Tormohlen: With registration and all exhibitor space open, how is the anticipation building for IBIE?

Dennis Gunnell: That’s an easy one. Our first indicator is that the show is nearly 80% sold out on exhibit space already. There is still good space available, but it shows that momentum is building, and we are still a year out.

There’s new space available at the West Hall, correct?

Gunnell: Yes, we have more usable space. We expect space to sell out in 2022 like we did in 2019. If some of the tradeshows we’ve attended and exhibited in recently are any indication, there’s clearly a need for people to get back together face-to-face.

IBIE will be the most significant international baking show to happen since 2019. Is there a heightened anticipation for people to get back together?

Ken Newsome: Yes, the fact that people have missed the cycle of the major shows like interpack heightens the interest in IBIE.

David Watson: A lot of events over the past year tried to go virtual with somewhat limited success. There’s a lot of excitement now that we can finally get together as an industry. Being able to talk to people while we see and touch the equipment … that’s going to drive interest.


The IBIE planning committee consists of actual exhibitors and attendees. How does this insider perspective lead to a meaningful show experience?

Allen Wright: The design of the committee leads to a show that’s in touch with its customer base and allows it to maneuver and react to the needs of both sides — the bakers and the suppliers.

Supply chain disruption is impacting every industry … how is it affecting IBIE planning? How can your direct supply chain experience help navigate those current or potential disruptions?

Wright: We’re paying attention to it closely, but the impact has yet to hit home largely because the show is still a year away. A lot of the execution work is yet to be done. We are paying attention to it, with our partners, to see how that’s going to impact the show. It will be crucial to keep our eyes on it over the next 12 months to make sure the show can execute like it’s accustomed to.

Gunnell: We’ve been talking with Freeman and with our other partners to make sure we’re proactively doing everything we can. One thing that is new this time is the advance warehouse. Exhibitors can send equipment about a month before the show to make sure it’s onsite well in advance. It’s part of the exhibitor package that we negotiated with Freeman. That will give exhibitors a big advantage to get there in time and not have delays due to shipping or anything else that’s affected by COVID or the manpower shortage. It’s the same cost now; it used to be more expensive to send it to the advance warehouse.


While there has been a limited number of tradeshows since COVID, live events are ramping up at a much faster pace, particularly in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022. If you’ve attended or exhibited at a show in recent months, what did you learn, and how will that impact IBIE planning?

Joseph Turano: Our company has been to shows, but I personally have not. Our focus needs to be on providing a comfortable show for our attendees and exhibitors — one with new COVID protocols in place. That’s something that will be a long-term change: a new level of awareness and focus on the show environment will be very important to make sure attendees want to attend and come back for years to come.

Michael Cornelis: Our company exhibited at a show in the Middle East in November, and what I’ve learned is you can’t really trust the shipping container crisis right now. We air-shipped our materials into that show. Experts are saying the crisis will continue well into 2022, so international exhibitors need to anticipate how they’re going to get their equipment into Las Vegas well beforehand. Some freight will need to leave much sooner than in the past. That’s going to be a big change and a challenge for international exhibitors.

Gunnell: We were an exhibitor at Pack Expo — held in October at the Las Vegas Convention Center — and had a good booth and had a very good show. The people who were there were actively looking for solutions; it was a great demonstration that people wanted to come together. The collaborative energy, seeing people talking about new projects … it’s a better way to do business to learn from one another. Face-to-face has proven time and again it’s the best way to do business, and the reality of it was that people were ready to go to shows. It was a big success.

Watson: We also had a booth at Pack Expo, and the feedback I heard from our team was similar. Those who came to the booth were actively looking to do projects and glad to be back in person again. That’s a good indicator for IBIE.

Registration is now open for IBIE, and booth space is still available. Attendees can visit IBIE’s website for more details and information.

This is an excerpt from a larger story on exclusive IBIE perspectives from Commercial Baking’s Innovations Annual. The full story can be viewed here.